On Tuesday, October 20th, I sat in on an online chat from ACRL. The topic was H1N1 and how libraries are responding to this issue. The chat was led by Marcia Thomas, Director of Collections & Technical Services, Illinois Wesleyan University and Meg Miner, University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian, Illinois Wesleyan University. Lots of the attendees were from schools in Florida, but also Oberlin, SUNY-Albany, Univ. of N. Texas. This was an informal Q&A session-the leaders asked general questions a the 10 or so attendees answered in piecemeal fashion.
As to the issues we covered:
• They asked how many people had H1N1 in their workplace-I mentioned the occurrences here and our Continuity of Operations plan development.
• Lots of schools had issues- not enough vaccine at some. Many universities had H1N1 sites at their university. I mentioned Wake Forest’s site.
• Some universities had H1N1 plans-but one other university left their library out of the plan
• H1N1 Plans on the website?-most said yes
• Extra measures- hand sanitizer, cleaning, hand washing encouraged, signs, staff encouraged to stay home
• Reports of more hand washing, sanitizing, etc by students
• Some actually referred students to health services
• Most students seem to be aware of healthy practices
• The idea was put forward of the library as a refuge if everyone else went home
• Some thought that the library is one of the places on campus that people look to for help
• Most libraries are developing H1N1 plans
I got the distinct feeling the libraries on campuses across the country are often taking the lead on these health related issues. That said, I think ZSR is at the forefront of the current health crisis planing how to continue operations if we have a full or partial campus shut down.